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The Sorrow of Sarajevo
Transcript of The Sorrow of Sarajevo
by Goran Simic The Sarajevo wind
leafs through the newspapers
that are glued by blood to the street
I pass with a loaf of bread under my arm.
The river carries the corpse of a woman.
as I run across the bridge
with my canisters of water,
I notice her wristwatch, still in place.
Someone lobs a child's shoe
into the furnace. Family photographs spill
from the back of a garbage truck;
they carry inscriptions:
Love from ...love from...love ...
There's no way of describing these things,
not really. Each night I wake
and stand by the window to watch my neighbour
who stands by the window to watch the dark. Goran Simic The Seige of Sarajevo Structure Analysis The Sorrow of Sarajevo by Goran Simic depicts the atrocities and the aftermath of the Siege of Sarajevo.
The poem is an account of the poet’s experience in Sarajevo during the siege.
It describes horror, death, civilian casualties, and the lasting torment. 2nd Stanza:
Life vs. Death 1st Stanza:
Sorrow and Horror 3rd Stanza:
Death of Innocence • He was born in Bosnia – Herzegovina on October 20, 1952
• He is a Bosnian-canadian poet, writer and essayist
• For a period of one year he was a senior resident of Massey College
• Most of his work has appeared in prestigious journals of Bosnia –Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia and the Times
• He has written eleven volumes of poetry, drama, and short fiction
• Trapped in the siege
• Immigrated to Canada in 1996 after the war • April 5, 1992 - February 29, 1995
• Longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare
• Siege: military blockade of a city or fortress with the intent of conquering by assault
• After Bosnia-Herzegovina had declared independence from Yugoslavia, the Serbs encircled Sarajevo with a siege force of 18 000, 12 000 civilians were missing or killed, and 56 000 were wounded
• The Serbs assaulted the city with weapons that included artillery, mortars, tanks, anti-aircraft guns, heavy machine-guns, multiple rocket launchers, rocket-launched aircraft bombs and sniper rifles
• Throughout the siege, there were hidden assassins, airlifts for food supplies, an underground tunnel as a lifeline and market killings
• The serbs surrendered their weapons to the UN in 1994, but still continued to fight
• The UN was stuck in the middle and powerless to intervene "The Sorrow of Sarajevo" seems to depict a man in the middle of a war zone, surrounded by dead bodies and wreckage. The narrator appears to be all alone and is filled with sorrow as he witnesses the atrocities. This poem is short, as it has only seventeen lines within four stanzas. It is prose-based. Instead of having a definite build or form, it has a very free-flowing nature – something that contrasts the theme of the poem. It relies on the natural flow of speech, and uses non-complex words to be able to convey emotions.
Because it expresses intense personal emotion in a manner suggestive of a song, it is a lyric poem. The thoughts and feelings of the poet are appropriately conveyed in such a manner that allows it to potentially be suggestive of a melody. It is very brief, with song-like quality. The poem is also non-repetitive. It does not have correspondence of terminal sounds of words or of lines of verse. The first stanza of the poem provides a description of the horror and the sorrow of the siege. “Newspapers glued by blood to the streets” illustrates the terrible atmosphere that is a result of the siege.
“I pass with a loaf of bread under my arm” represents the turmoil in Sarajevo and the rough times that people are experiencing as a result of the siege. This represents the scarce resources and food supplies.
“Wind” is also a symbol of turmoil, which relates to the tragedy in Sarajevo.
Sarajevo – the capital city/largest city of Bosnia-Herzegovina
Leafs - turn over (pages) reading them quickly or casually • The second stanza describes the struggle between life and death in Sarajevo. “The river carries the corpse of a woman” demonstrates the tragedy of death in Sarajevo. In contrast, he is carrying “canisters of water,” which represents his means for a livelihood.
• Water is symbolically used in this stanza. In literature, water often symbolizes change and turning points. It may also represent life, with fresh water signifying good health and polluted water is bad health. The water in the river is polluted with death and he carries fresh water as he crosses the bridge for his survival. This represents how life is threatened in Sarajevo.
Canister - a round or cylindrical container, typically of metal, used for storing such things as food, chemicals, or rolls of film •The third stanza of the poem illustrates the death of the innocent. “Someone lobs a child’s shoe into the furnace” is a demonstration of civilian children who were killed.
•“Family photographs spill from the back of a garbage truck” is a representation of lost families and lost memories due to the upheaval in Sarajevo.
Lobs – struck or thrown into the air
Inscription – a carving, writing, or marking of words on something Message 4th Stanza:
Trauma • The fourth stanza depicts the lasting trauma of the Siege of Sarajevo. “Each night I awake and stand by the window to watch my neighbor who stands by the window to watch the dark” demonstrates how both him and his neighbor cannot sleep in the midst of such horror and they are still tormented by the siege.
• The “dark” is a symbol of evil, fear and the absence of light, which describes the tragic atmosphere of Sarajevo. Poetically, the dark symbolizes the presence of shadows and depression. The Siege of Sarajevo had cast a darkness of the city and filled it with depression.
•“Window” symbolizes one’s perception of the world. Windows function to allow light in and represent the light of truth. The poet and his neighbour are hopeful for light to once again occupy Sarajevo. Literary Devices Repetition - the return of a word, phrase, stanza form, or effect in any form of literature ie: Love from...love from...love
Metaphor – an implied, indirect comparison ie: Relating blood to glue in the third line
Allieration – repetition of sounds in nearby words ie: Family photographs, by blood, window to watch
Hyperbole – an extreme exaggeration ie: Glued by blood to the streets
Personification – giving human qualities to abstract or inanimate objects ie: The river carries
Consonance – repetition of similar consonants in nearby words ie: Back of the garbage truck Imagery - visually descriptive or figurative language ie: The Sarajevo wind, leafs through newspapers
Symbolism - the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities ie: Child's shoe in fire – destruction of innocence
Polluted river – represents bad health and death
Wristwatch still in place – time has stopped (for them)
Assonance – the repetition of similar vowel sounds in nearby words ie: Through newspapers
Oxymoron – an intentionally non-parallel structure, frequently containing contradictory material ie: I awake each night Literary Devices cont'd Serbian Assault on Sarajevo 1992